Are your preteen’s vaccines current? Here’s what the CDC recommends

ThinkstockPhotos-184424848_jpgMake sure your children’s vaccines are up to date to protect them from dangerous diseases. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommend that preteens age 11-12 receive the Tdap, meningococcal, flu, and HPV vaccines.

Ask your doctor about vaccines needed at your preteen’s next appointment.


Recommended vaccines protect against the following diseases:

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • The HPV vaccine prevents cancer. Many Americans will catch at least one type of HPV, most often in their teens or early 20s. Preteens age 11 or 12 years old should get the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can protect against infection from the types of HPV that can cause certain kinds of cancer.
  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, can cause severe coughing spells. The Tdap vaccine protects against pertussis. Preteens suffering from whooping cough can end up hospitalized and miss weeks of school. Many children receive the immunization against whooping cough at a young age, but protection from the childhood immunization fades over time. Preteens who were immunized when they were younger might only require a Tdap booster.
    • Another reason to make sure your preteen is protected against whooping cough is that infants are most likely to catch whooping cough from an older sibling.
    • Under California state law, all incoming 7th-grade students will need proof of a Tdap vaccine or booster shot before starting school. More information is available at
  • Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection that can cause brain damage, arm and leg amputations, kidney damage, and death. That’s why it’s crucial for all preteens to get one shot of the meningococcal vaccine at age 11 or 12 years and a booster at age 16.
Influenza (flu)
  • Influenza is widespread in California. According to the CDC, everyone age 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year. Influenza can circulate into the springtime – so preteens can still, and should, get immunized if they haven’t already done so this season.

Talk to your doctor about the recommended vaccines for your preteen at your next visit. To learn more about vaccines for both children and adolescents, please visit the CDC’s Vaccines for Children website. Also visit for more details about school immunization requirements.

Thank you for helping California’s preteens stay healthy.




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Bret Smith